Auctions, especially car auctions, are full of promise. The format allows you to believe that for some reason an item will sell for less than it's worth. This belief sent me after the 1981 BMW wagon seen here last week.
Last Sunday, while perusing the local newspaper for auction listings, I came across a federal bankruptcy auction that led me to this rare piece of German history. Although it was listed by the auction company as a 1981 BMW 733i Wagon, I thought such a thing never existed. Despite years of old BMW ownership and interest, I had never seen one. A quick web search turned up why.
According to a previous seller, this BMW was made on the BMW assembly line for display at the Frankfurt Auto Show. Featuring later 2002 taillights and a custom formed roof, the BMW was 1 of 2 custom made on the BMW assembly line for the purpose. This information is known from when the car sold on Ebay in November of 2000. At that point it changed hands for $15,000.
When the car was sold on Ebay in 2000 it had 8,179 miles. Ten years later it only had 9002. The 17 car collection that included the wagon featured low mileage vehicles which had all done their share of sitting as well. The cars as well as the contents of music store were being auctioned to settle an estate in bankruptcy
It was half curiosity and half the hope that no one would pay much attention to the big old wagon when it came time to bid that motivated me to drive to the Auction last week. There was just enough of a chance that the car could have flown under the radar and only I would know what I was bidding on. I could tell clearly from the pre auction pictures the car had done a lot of sitting and a little deteriorating since it had last come up for sale. I thought that perhaps the interior mold and surface rust would scare people away.
Upon my arrival at the designated tow lot outside of Boston the other day I found the row of auction vehicles with a lot of well deserved interest in the old BMW wagon. From what I overhead while inspecting the car, many attendees had gathered a collection of truths and half truths about the car and a few knew exactly what it was. My hopes of becoming the new owner of the rare car started to fade.
As soon as the auction began it was clear that nothing, including the BMW, would be stolen at giveaway prices. When the auctioneer declared the car sold the bidding had reached $6,000, significantly more then I was planning to pay for it. Despite the fact the car did not run before the sale(interestingly enough, the auction company decided not start the car by request of the man who ended up buying it), was poorly marketed and 10 years of sitting had not been overly kind to the car cosmetically, it brought a fair price.
A little disappointed and a lot relieved that I didn't have to figure out how to get a big non running BMW home I paused to talk to the buyer on the way out. He also purchased the 1982 BMW 628 CSI convertible for $20,000 that you see above.
Although he seemed momentarily a little bit overwhelmed, he and his son were grinning ear to ear while examining their new purchases. When I asked him what he planned to do with the car he said he wasn't sure yet but he couldn't have passed at the price it sold for. Sounds like the car may have found a good home at last.